The "Ooooh, That's Interesting!" Project

I recently had dinner with my good friend and fellow food writer Dana. Our conversations are always far-ranging, but one of our big topics that night was about staying motivated. We've both been feeling of rather uninspired in our cooking and in our work lately, which is a sentiment also I've felt echoed in various forms from many different colleagues lately. We food writers and food professionals are steeped in recipes, food culture, food blogs, conversations about food, and generally all things food 24/7. Sometimes we forget to charge the batteries.

So Dana and I made a deal. We agreed to just be curious. To keep an eye out in our wanderings around the internet and through the food world for anything that that causes a spark and makes us sit up and say, "Oh, now that's interesting." And then we agreed to share it with each other.

I have found that I'm remarkably adept at ignoring this spark when it shows up. I think, "That's nice," and then I promptly forget about it as I move into the next task in front of me. In an effort to at least make myself pause and fully acknowledge those moments, I thought I'd keep track of them here on this semi-forgotten blog in a series of posts. I don't really expect these things to result in frissons of excitement for anyone but myself, but if they do, you're very welcome!

* This image to the right from Heather Christo's Instagram Story feed made me pause. It's a way of preparing and serving spaghetti squash that I don't think I've seen before. So simple, yet so smart. I could see serving this with a scoop of bolognese or something in the middle.

* Lady and Pups: This is a new-to-me blog by Mandy Lee that appears to be mega-popular so I'm probably the last person to have discovered it. I'm cool with that. I love her voice, which is irreverent and funny and sincere. Visually, her website feels fresh and engaging. Partly that's because her photos are lovely and very different from my own style, but it's also the layout, the mix of photos and text, the font -- everything. Also, holy shiitake mushrooms, this looks so good. I must have it.

* This post from Heidi Swanson rounding up all her favorite pasta-making videos. Not only do I love all the examples of pasta prowess (of course), but I also love how she spotlights other people's work while still making the post sound very natural and "Heidi." It's more than just another Buzzfeed-style round-up.

* And because that post about pasta-making sent me down a Heidi Swanson rabbit hole, her idea of using cashew milk as a base for vegan ramen in this post felt like an immediate tug toward the kitchen.

* And last but not least, I want to talk about this book Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. I wasn't immediately drawn to this book when it first came out. Like most people, I like to eat cookies (duh), but don't actually bake them all that often. Certainly not often enough to justify a 2-inch thick cookbook of them. In any case, I eventually found myself with a copy and have been devouring it. The recipes are a fun mix of old-school classics and fun new twists, but what really got the sparks flying for me were all the various tips and suggestions Dorie casually sprinkles throughout the book. Ideas for quickly softening butter, best tactics for freezing cookies in case of future cookie emergency, and the case for making your cookies in a muffin tin. I haven't really thought about cookies for a while, and as we enter into the holiday season, Dorie has been helping me look at them with fresh eyes. Thanks, Dorie!

And that's it for today! Anything caught your eye recently?